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Hawaii Unemployment at Two-Year Low

BY HAWAII REPORTER

Hawaii’s unemployment rate remained at 6.3 percent in January as the state’s jobless rate stayed at a two-year low.

Figures released by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations show January’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate tied December’s number, which was revised downward to 6.3 percent from the 6.4 percent previously reported.

The rate was the lowest since January 2009, when joblessness was at 6.0 percent.

Hawaii’s rate most likely will be one of the lowest nationally when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases data for all states on Thursday. In December Hawaii’s rate was the seventh-lowest nationally, Hawaii’s unemployment rate compares to the 9.0 percent national figure.

The lower unemployment is welcome news for the state, which is continuing a slow recovery from a recession. However, Hawaii’s underemployment – a measure that includes people with part-time jobs who want full-time work and others who have stopped looking for jobs – remains higher than the national average at 16.9 percent.

The state Labor Department reported Hawaii’s labor force grew by 2,200 to 630,450 during the past year, an indication that some discouraged job hunters may be rejoining the labor force. But the higher numbers looking for a job was also accompanied by more hiring during the past year.

The number of people employed also rose by more than 5,000 from January 2010, when Hawaii’s unemployment rate was 6.9 percent.

The state also reported unemployment numbers for each county, though they are on a not adjusted for seasonality

January County Unemployment, Not Seasonally Adjusted

County                              2011                       2010

Honolulu                          5.4%                      6.0%

Hawaii County                   9.3                          9.9

Kauai                                8.5                          9.0

Maui County                      7.9                          8.9

Maui Island                        7.9                          8.6

Molokai                             12.0                        15.5

Lanai                                 5.3                          8.7

Source: State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

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